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Science Fiction for June  2016
by Henry Leon Lazarus

     Over sixty years ago, before I found Fantasy and Science Fiction, I loved to read comics, particularly those about super heroes. I look for great  super hero tales, especially those with solid, three dimensional characters.
Olivia Rising tells her tale three years after the pulse that brought super powers to Earth. Her version of super powers don’t really fit the comic versions, especially because some of the evolved surge, broadening and widening the strength of their power. When the only healer, Shanti, a woman of India who is adored like Mother Theresa, surges, her power affects not just an individual, but all people from a mile around her. The Covenant decides she is too dangerous and sends Radiant, who can fly at the speed of light and shoot out laser beams, to kill her. Riots ensue and Radiant feels he has to quit the Covenant. Christina Chung goes through transition at the same time with the ability to create shields, super-speed, and sense potential disasters. But already still recovering from the death of her baby brother while she was baby sitting, her manifested powers aren’t enough to save the life of her older sister. Sarina Baumann found dancing after being adopted into a family that helped wean her off drugs. Her first dance competition shows her transition allows her to make miricles. Transition (ebook from Amazon)  is only the introduction to a four part series that promises to be very powerful.  
Storm’s Quarry is an underground  city of two cultures, joined by survival needs against the huge storms that occasionally beset. The Nomori were gypsies whose people frequently come with powers. The Everan rule the city and took in the Nomori because one of them prophesied a major storm’s beginning and end. Kesali has gotten her grandmother’s powers of Prophesy and is engaged to the Duke’s son in an effort to unit the two peoples. Her best friend, Nadya Gabori, has been hiding her unusual Captain America type abilities, running over the roof tops at night while appearing a dutiful daughter by day. Then a mind controller starts causing murders, trying to destabilize the city, while a prophesied storm locks the city down. Nadya is forced to use her talents as The Iron Phoenix (paper from Bold Strokes Books) while keeping her father, the head of the Duke’s guards, in the dark. There’s a lot of female Zorro, as well as teenage angst in Rebecca Harwell’s fun tale. I’m eager from more.      
Samantha Bryant continues her tale of four women treated for menopausal symptoms with a drugs that gave them super powers. Linda became a very strong man, Jessica is able to fly Patricia turns into a bullet proof lizard, Helen throws fire. The person who changed them. Cindy Liu, has been getting younger and now looks thirteen, In the second tale Jessica and Linda are recruited to a secret government agency which has Helen locked down. Cindy’s father, is a crazed scientist who mastered brain transplantation and is on his fourth body. This Change of Life (paper from Curiosity Quills Press) tale comes to a head when Cindy’s father tries to kidnap the women to save his daughter and the agency finds a way into his research lab. Lots of fun and I can’t wait for the next adventure.
Alex Lamb continues his very exciting tale of Will Kuno-Monet, a Roboteer (paper) who stopped a war and met with Transcended species to talk them out of destroying humanity as they had other species. Thirty years later humanity is fighting over the new area the galaxy given by the Transcended and filled with ruins from a species that was destroyed. A small cabal is afraid of a civil that will destroy humanity and they have found a planet of Nemesis (paper from  Gollancz) filled with artificially intelligent life. An attack by Nemesis robots  to destroy an illegal human settlement is set up to be discovered, and Will sends an expedition to investigate, with the scientific half piloted by is adopted son, Mark. Plots within plots soon set Nemesis to attack all human settlements including Earth, and only Will and Mark working separately can same humanity. This, like the first tale, is an edge of the seat, impossible to put down, exciting read. There’s a third book coming and I can’t wait.        
Laura Anne Gilman has a strange version of early nineteenth century America. Next to the growing United States is the devils territory run by a being most call the Devil. Isobel (Izzy to her friends) was apprenticed to the Devil, and at sixteen that apprenticeship is over.  All she  knows in serving food and cleaning up in the Saloon, so she asks her boss to work for him full time, and he makes her his left hand and sends her out of the roads with a rider, Gabrial Kasun, to show her the ropes of riding the territory. Thankfully this is not a love story. What she doesn’t know is that the territory has been attacked by an evil spirit that is wiping out farms and small settlements. Her new job gives her the power to deal with the problem, if she can learn how to use it fast enough. Silver on the Road (hard from Saga Press) is the start of what promises to be fun look at a very magically wild west.     
David B. Coe has a third tale of PI Justis Fearsson, and ex-cop, weremyste able to work magic. This time the case involves a woman with two kids on the run, mainly because she’s found Shadow’s Blade (hard from Baen) and some very bad blood mages are after her, including one who can totally drain a person’s blood with a touch and use it to create powerful spells. There’s a trail of dead bodies, and the bad guys even use helicopters. There’s a trail of dead bodies around Phoenix, including ones his ex-partner Kona is investigating. Very exciting..
Sherlock Holmes doesn’t believe in magic, but according to Mercedes Lackey , Dr, Watson and his wife Mary are both Elemental masters. In the case of A Study in Sable (hard from DAW) Sherlock and Watson have to work with Nan, a telepath, and Sarah, a medium with the ability to send ghosts through the gate to their true end. An opera singer’s sister is missing, and she is always surrounded by admirers. When Sarah comes to work for her to exorcize the ghosts that fill her hotel room, she is soon caught un in Magdelena’s von Dietersdorf’s charisma. Add in two intelligent birds who work with Nan and Sarah and you have a fun, pleasant adventure.  Magdelena’s talent and egomania makes her a difficult target, even for Sherlock Holmes. Fun.
Genevieve Cogman invents The Invisible Library (paper from ROC) that connects alternate Earths, some with mixtures of magic. Some alternate Earths have unique books that are collected by agents of the Library. Usually that’s a simple case. Irene is after a Grimm storybook on a world with vampires and elves. What she doesn’t know that an evil ex-agent of the library, Alberich is after the same thing. Another agent Bradamant had already failed to get the book and its owner, a vampire, had been murdered. His arch-enemy, an Elf-lord from Liechtenstein desperately wants the book too.   Irene has also been assigned a trainee, Kai, who is special. Helping her is the great detective Lord Vale who is trying to solve the murder mystery. Lots of fun with a sequel promised
To Justin Croninm New York is The City of Mirrors (hard from  Ballantine Books) where zero, the first vampire waits with his virals.  After The Passage (paper) across an America emptied by viral monsters, The Twelve (paper) controlling vampires were destroyed and humanity is beginning to grow again in small settlements in Texas. But Twenty years of peace, does not mean the plague has ended. So when it returns, only a refurbished oil tanker, the mad dream of one man, can help humanity survive while Amy, long prophesied to save humanity, faces the first carrier of the disease found in South America. Nice solid ending to a well-written variation on Zombie plague.
    Hugo Award nominations for this year are \: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit), The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc), The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit), Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow), and Uprooted by Naomi Novik ( paper from Del Rey which just won this year’s Nebula).
    Pyr has printed the Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 (trade and edited by Mercedes Lackey) with the winners and nominees for shorter fiction.    Baen has reprinted David Weber’s new fantasy, The Song of the South and Lois McMaster Bujold’s fun start to Miles Vorkosigan’s adventure, The Warrior’s Apprentice in Trade. Catherine Asaro’s excellent Undercity which needs a sequel is reprinted in paper
    The Science Fiction Society will have its next meeting on, June 10th  2016 at 8 p.m.  at International House on  the University of Pennsylvania Campus.As usual Guests are Welcome.
    Dr. Henry Lazarus is a local Dentist and the author of A Cycle of Gods (Wolfsinger Publications) and Unnaturally Female (Smashwords).Check out his unified field theory at henrylazarus.com/utf.html that suggests a simpler way to achieve fusion generation.